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Monday 11th January 2021

Europe

In the United Kingdom hospitals are facing the worst crisis in living memory, according to the Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty. Writing in the Sunday Times, Whitty said that if the current pattern continues, there will be avoidable deaths - because the health system is overwhelmed. Over 80,000 people are confirmed to have died of the coronavirus in the UK. On Friday, London declared a state of emergency, as hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID patients. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that the virus was out of control.

“The virus is out of control. The NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed. What I mean by that is that we are at risk of NHS hospitals running out of beds over the course of the next couple of weeks if the virus continues to spread and people continue to be hospitalised. Across the country on average one out of 50 people have this virus. In London on average its one out of 30. In parts of London its one out of 20.”

Over half of new cases in the UK are of the B.1.1.7 strain - which is expected to be more than 50% more transmissible than the normal strain of COVID19. Most scientists agree that current vaccines will still be effective against the new strain.

Spain has had its heaviest snow in 50 years. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked people to stay inside after 4 deaths were reported.

In the Vatican city, the Pope’s personal doctor has died of COVID19. The Vatican’s newspaper said that Fabrizio Soccorsi died on Saturday, after testing positive for COVID19 in late December.

Asia

In Indonesia, divers have found parts of the plane which crashed into the Java sea on Saturday. This report from Maya Dil...

“An Indonesian plane flying from Jakarta to the city of Pontianak crashed on Saturday, minutes after take-off. The plane was carrying 63 people. Local fisherman said they saw and heard an explosion. Since Saturday search teams have found parts of the plane. However, no survivors have been found .The plane was a Boeing 737. In 2018 a 737 Max aeroplane crashed after leaving Jakarta killing 189 people.”

Also in Indonesia at least 11 people have died in landslides. Heavy rain caused the landslides in the West Java.

In Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov won a presidential election yesterday. According to the Election Commission with most votes counted, Japarov had won almost 80% of votes. A referendum was also held yesterday, asking if Kyrgyzstan should continue its parliamentary system, or if more power should be given to the president. The election commission said that over 80% of voters wanted to give more power to the president.

Pakistan had one of its worst electricity blackouts in history this weekend. Almost all of Pakistan’s 210 million people had their electricity cut, after a fault at a power plant.

Africa

Talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the Grand Renaissance Dam, have failed. The Dam is in Ethiopia, however its use effects the level of water in the River Nile in Egypt and Sudan. The dam began use in July. Yesterday, state-run media from Sudan said that negotiations with Ethiopia has not reached an agreement.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo an attack has killed 6 workers of Virunga National Park, according to local authorities. No group claimed responsibility, however there are many armed groups fighting for control of the east of the DRC.

In Algeria, former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has admitted selling gold on the black market. Ouyahia, who is on trial for corruption, has admitted to receiving gold bars from Arab donors and selling them without declaring them to tax inspectors.

Americas

In the United States many members of congress, including two Republican senators, have asked for President Donald Trump to be removed from office, just 9 days before his term officially ends. Polls say that most Americans and half of Republicans blame Trump for riots in the congress building last week. A policeman died in hospital this weekend after receiving injuries during the riot, bringing the total number of deaths to five. Facebook and Twitter have removed Trump’s accounts. Many people say that this is an attack on freedom of speech, however the social media platforms say that Trump had instigated violence.

And in Canada, scientists have produced a nasal spray that could stop people from becoming infected with the coronavirus. The spray is designed to kill the coronavirus as it enters the nose, and is in phase two trial in Canada.

That’s your world news in 7 minutes. Read the transcript of today’s episode and listen to past episodes at send7.org. I am Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Namitha Ragunath. Have a great day.

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